by Lio Mangubat| October 29, 2022 | Published by | READ THE STORY HERE

PIONEERED LAST year in Manila as non-motorized mobility came into focus because of the lockdowns, the volunteer-driven Citizen’s Bike Count cast a wider, nationwide net for this year’s count.

The findings of the more than 600-volunteer strong initiative? A total of 191,578 cyclists pedaling around the major roads of ten Philippine cities, including Naga, Cebu, Mandaue, Davao, Baguio, Iloilo, as well as four cities in Metro Manila.

The volunteers also noted a tremendous gap between male and female cyclists, with women riders making up only 3.83 percent of the total. Helmet use was split evenly among the counted population, with bikers riding with helmets on making up 51.43 percent of the count.

How was the 2022 Citizen’s Bike Count done?
The count was accomplished by volunteers stationed in 99 different locations across the ten cities. Counts were taken during the peak morning commute hours, and then again in the afternoon to evening commute.

Organizers stressed that the 191,578 bikers was still a “significant undercount.”

“We need permanent count programs that use appropriate technologies to ensure we capture up to date data focused on the growing population of cyclists and active transport users in the country,” said Aldrin Pelicano of MNL Moves and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, which are among the key organizations behind the bike count.

Still, he said, the project “was our response and contribution to the continuing challenge over the lack of bike traffic data. Investments in active transport infrastructure is best justified when anchored on regularly collected and analyzed data.”

According to a statement released by the organizers, the 191,578 bikers represent daily fuel cost savings of up to P307,329.53 — “compelling figures,” said the statement, “given the continuing rise in fuel prices in the Philippines.”

Organizers hope that the bike count data would be used to improve mobility programs and policies.

For example, “Bicol has one of the lowest minimum wages in the country, and in turn, laborers and construction workers cycle to save money. These are the stories that we see through numbers,” said Ramon Dominic Nobleza, a Metro Naga Active Transport Community organizer.

“Ang masaya dito sa ginawa namin[g] bike count is that it empowers people, and it ensures that people are accounted for. This bike count has provided the conclusion that there is power in people to exercise their right to quality travel. What kind of quality? Makatao, ligtas, at para sa lahat,” added Nobleza.

Photo: A bike count volunteer counts bike commuters in Panganiban Drive, Naga City on June 24, 2022. (CEPPIO)